The Memorial—Are You Entitled to Partake?
Every year early in the northern spring the nations have witnessed the celebration of religious meals by certain systems of belief and which seem to be related. This year the Jews eat their passover meal Wednesday night, April 9, and the Roman Catholics and Protestants celebrate Good Friday on April 11, whereas the Greek Catholic systems celebrate on the following Friday, April 18.
The thousands of companies of Jehovah’s witnesses throughout the earth in 121 lands celebrate the supper memorializing Christ’s death Thursday night, April 10. The reason that the Jewish celebration and professed Christian celebrations are so close as to time is that the meal for memorializing Christ’s death was instituted on the passover night, right after Jesus and his faithful apostles had partaken of the passover supper, as they were all Jews by nature. There Jesus Christ gave out instructions for his followers to celebrate yearly on that anniversary date. Jehovah’s witnesses strictly obey his instructions, celebrating the memorial meal on the anniversary date, namely, the 14th day of the Jewish month Nisan, whereas the Catholic and Protestant sects hold a celebration on the day of the week, Friday, nearest to Nisan 14, Friday being the day he was nailed to the stake on Calvary to die a martyr’s death.
“First let a man approve himself after scrutiny, and thus let him eat of the loaf and drink of the Cup.”—1 Cor. 11:28, NW.
1, 2. What is here the question, and what did Paul say for our advice?
TO PARTAKE or not to partake—that is the question. Catholic or Protestant, Christian or not Christian, you must decide the answer to this question respecting the Lord’s Memorial evening meal. Here is what the apostle Paul says for the advice of us all:
2 “I received from the Lord that which I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which he was going to be handed over took a loaf and, after giving thanks, he broke it and said: ‘This means my body which is in your behalf. Keep doing this in remembrance of me.’ He did likewise respecting the cup also, after he had the evening meal, saying: ‘This cup means the new covenant by virtue of my blood. Keep doing this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.’ For as often as you eat this loaf and drink this cup, you keep proclaiming the death of the Lord, until he arrives. Consequently, whoever eats the loaf and drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will be guilty respecting the body and the blood of the Lord. First let a man approve himself after scrutiny, and thus let him eat of the loaf and drink of the cup. For he that eats and drinks eats and drinks judgment against himself if he does not discern the body. That is why many among you are weak and sickly and quite a few are sleeping in death. But if we would discern what we ourselves are, we would not be judged. However, when we are judged, we are disciplined by Jehovah, that we may not become condemned with the world. Consequently, my brothers, when you come together to eat it, wait for one another. If anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, that you may not come together for judgment.”—1 Cor. 11:23-34, NW.
3, 4. About what spiritually disordered people do we ask, and why?
3 Are you among those who Paul in his day said were sleeping in death while many others were weak and sickly, spiritually so? Why we ask is because hundreds of millions today go through at least a form of celebrating the Lord’s supper or Eucharist, as they call it, and yet what is their spiritual condition? These hundreds of millions of Catholics and Protestants of Christendom are very sick spiritually, very weak in Christian faith and practice. Quite a few are spiritually dead when it comes to responding and becoming alive to the glorious message of God’s kingdom which Jehovah’s witnesses are proclaiming worldwide today. Their social, moral and religious condition agrees with the description given by the apostle Paul in these words:
4 “Men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, self-assuming, haughty, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, without gratitude, with no loving-kindness, having no natural affection, not open to any agreement, slanderers, without self-control, fierce, without love of goodness, betrayers, headstrong, puffed up with self-esteem, lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God, having a form of godly devotion but proving false to its power; . . . wicked men and impostors will advance from bad to worse, misleading and being misled.”—2 Tim. 3:2-5, 13, NW.
5, 6. (a) What does this worsening condition of Christendom mean, and what is the root of the trouble? (b) What question must we intelligently decide to avoid incurring judgment?
5 That condition grows worse in Christendom every year. What is the meaning of it? It means the “last days” for Christendom and for this world. Yes, and all those who remain in that low spiritual condition face destruction in the universal war of Armageddon with which this worldly system of things will end. For the apostle prefaces the description above with the words: “But know this, that in the last days critical times hard to deal with will be here.” Most of those religionists with a form of godly devotion try at least once a year on their Good Friday to take what they call “holy communion”. So what is responsible for their dangerously poor spiritual health? The same apostle diagnoses the root of their trouble, saying in his discussion of the Lord’s evening meal: “First let a man approve himself after scrutiny, and thus let him eat of the loaf and drink of the cup. For he that eats and drinks eats and drinks judgment against himself if he does not discern the body.” Ah, there is the trouble! “That is why many among you are weak and sickly and quite a few are sleeping in death.”—1 Cor. 11:28-30, NW.
6 They do not understand the meaning of the Memorial supper emblems which Jesus used. They do not appreciate or take seriously their responsibility in partaking of those emblems, even in pretense. Hence they prove false to the power of real godly devotion in their lives and are weak and sickly in that respect, if not already in a death sleep. The anniversary date of the Lord’s evening meal is now getting close. It must keep on being observed “until he arrives”. Will you partake or are you worthy to partake of that Memorial meal with Christ’s followers? Are you obligated by the Lord’s command to partake or are you excluded from it? That is a question each one must decide for himself after scrutiny. Partakers must be alive to discerning the Lord’s body and must appreciate what their taking the Memorial emblems means for them. Else they will partake to their judgment.
DIFFERENCE OF UNDERSTANDING
7, 8. What results from difference of understanding show poor spiritual health, and over what words is there great dispute?
7 Difference of understanding on what the Memorial emblems mean has caused great religious splits, controversies, yes, religious wars and persecutions in which much human blood has been spilled and shocking unchristian cruelties been perpetrated. All this is a proof of very poor spiritual health owing to a failure to discern the Lord’s body. The great dispute over what words mean has led to all kinds of ungodliness. That we may have before us the account of Jesus’ words and of the privileges he conferred upon his followers, we here quote the account of his introducing the Memorial evening meal to his true disciples:
8 “And the disciples did as Jesus ordered them, and they got things ready for the passover. When, now, it had become evening, he was reclining at the table with the twelve disciples. . . . As they continued eating, Jesus took a loaf and, after saying a blessing, he broke it and, giving it to the disciples, he said: ‘Take, eat. This means my body.’ Also he took a cup and, having given thanks, he gave it to them, saying: ‘Drink out of it, all of you; for this means my “blood of the covenant” which is to be poured out in behalf of many for forgiveness of sins. But I tell you, I will by no means drink henceforth any of this product of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in the kingdom of my Father.’”—Matt. 26:19-29, NW; Mark 14:22-25, Mo.
9. Why will many object to the above translation, and what do they insist on and claim?
9 Many are sure to object to the translation above quoted from. Why? Because it reads, “This means my body,” “This means my blood.” This, although Moffatt’s translation reads, “It means my body,” “This means my blood”; and Chas. B. Williams’ translation reads, “It represents my body,” “This represents my blood.” (See also the footnote of Weymouth’s translation on Matthew 26:26.) The objectors will claim this is interpretation or exposition, and not translation. They insist on the reading of the Catholic Douay Version or the Protestant King James Version or Luther’s Version, all of which read: “This is my body,” “This is my blood.” They claim that by Jesus’ pronouncing these words some change was brought about materially or essentially in the unleavened bread and wine which he then handled.
10. What are the clergy claims for transubstantiation and what do they thereby pretend to create and sacrifice?
10 Catholic clergy teach the doctrine of transubstantiation, that is, that the bread and wine were literally changed in substance and became Jesus’ flesh and blood when he said those words. The Orthodox or Greek Catholics also call this transmutation. But they claim that it is the holy spirit that transmutes the bread and wine into Jesus’ literal flesh and blood, and not the Orthodox priest who consecrates the bread and wine used. The priest prays over them for the holy spirit to produce this miraculous change. The Roman Catholic clergy claim that it is the officiating priest who miraculously changes the wafer and wine into human flesh and blood by pronouncing the words which Jesus said when he offered these emblems to his faithful apostles. Thus, since by virtue of their trinity belief they claim that Jesus is God Almighty, the priest calls down God from heaven upon their altars of the mass and creates him for sacrifice. God is their creation, and this time they are the ones who bring about the sacrificial death, not the Roman soldiers who at the orders of Pontius Pilate and under the instigation of the Jewish priests and scribes and Sanhedrin did it nineteen centuries ago.
11. What is the doctrine concerning the “Mass”, and how does it make God subject and the people dependent?
11 In its definition of “Mass” The National Catholic Almanac of 1948 says: “The Mass is the unbloody renewal of the Sacrifice of Our Lord upon the Cross.” Question 365 of A Catechism of Christian Doctrine (Revised Edition of the Baltimore Catechism), published in 1949, asks, “Who said the first Mass?” It answers: “Our divine Saviour said the first Mass, at the Last Supper, the night before He died.” Today the Roman Catholic Church generally offers to the congregation of the laity only the bread of the mass. To excuse this giving only the bread to them this Catechism gives the following answer to its question 366: “(b) It is not necessary that we receive Our Lord’s body and blood under the appearances of both bread and wine. Christ is entirely present under the appearances of bread, and also entirely present under the appearances of wine. Therefore, we receive Him whole and entire under the appearances of bread alone or of wine alone. (c) In some Eastern Churches the faithful receive Holy Communion under the appearances of both bread and wine. In the Western Church the faithful receive Communion only under the appearances of bread.” Since such doctrine limits the power to cause transubstantiation to the religious priests, it glorifies them as having God himself under their power. It makes the congregation of the laity absolutely dependent on the priests, so that if no priest is present, the people cannot celebrate the Lord’s supper.
12. What is consubstantiation, and what shows that it and transubstantiation are not the discerning of the Lord’s body?
12 Many Protestants believe in what is called consubstantiation. According to this, the bread and wine still remain such in fact, but because of their consecration by the officiating clergyman the person who partakes of them receives the true body and blood of Jesus Christ along with (con) the bread and wine. Like transubstantiation, all this demands a great deal of faith, for it still leaves the partaker seeing and tasting only literal bread and wine. Really, now, is this what is meant by ‘discerning the body of the Lord’? All such celebrations to which consubstantiation and transubstantiation are imputed are said to impart great grace. But if they are the correct discernment of the Lord’s body, why are they not accompanied by such divine grace? Why is the spiritual condition of the people of Christendom so weak, so sickly, or even dead? The actual condition of Christendom’s religious sects denies that they truly discern the Lord’s body, for the great spiritual grace expected to result from it is woefully lacking. If those hundreds of millions of communicants in Christendom had discerned the Lord’s body and had harmonized their lives with it, two world wars within one generation would never have crippled Christendom, aside from all the other blood-spilling conflicts fought during the centuries in the very heart of Christendom. That transubstantiation and consubstantiation over which such controversies have raged are not apostolic, and hence are unchristian, becomes clear when we examine them in the light of the Holy Scriptures.
ANY CHANGE OF SUBSTANCE INDICATED?
13. What wording shows the bread did not become sacrificial flesh and that the wine was still wine?
13 Let us examine Jesus’ words themselves. The Catholic Douay Version reads: “And taking bread, he gave thanks and brake and gave to them, saying: This is my body, which is given for you. Do this for a commemoration of me.” (Luke 22:19, Dy) If he had meant that the bread had been turned into his flesh, he would properly have said, ‘Do this in sacrifice of me.’ Instead, he said to do it “for a commemoration of me”, indicating that the bread was still bread and was merely a symbol of his body. We note the same fact regarding the wine. Matthew 26:27-29 (Dy) reads: “And taking the chalice, he gave thanks and gave to them, saying: Drink ye all of this. For this is my blood of the new testament, which SHALL BE shed for many unto remission of sins. And I say to you, I will not drink from henceforth of this fruit of the vine until that day when I shall drink it with you new in the kingdom of my Father.” (Mark 14:23-25, Dy) Note that Jesus here indicated that the liquid in the chalice was still literal wine, for he said: “I will not drink from henceforth of this fruit of the vine,” not, drink from henceforth of this blood.
14. What other fact shows the wine had not become Jesus’ blood?
14 Another fact which shows it was not his blood is that Jesus said: “This is my blood of the new testament, which SHALL BE shed.” This plainly shows his blood was not there being shed by transubstantiation and by the apostles’ pouring it down their throats. Not only does the Douay Version say here, “shall be shed,” but also the original Latin Vulgate from which it was translated reads that way. Mgr. R. A. Knox’s translation of 1943 says, “is to be shed.” And at Luke 22:19 Knox makes it read: “This is my body, which is to be given for you.” The New World Translation also reads, “is to be poured out,” and, “is to be given,” indicating a future time, namely, when Jesus hung on the torture stake at Calvary. So by his words Jesus did not mean the bread and wine were his own flesh and blood, any more than the apostle Paul meant that a literal rock was Jesus by his words: “They drank of the spiritual rock that followed them: and the rock was Christ.” (1 Cor. 10:4, Dy) The rock from which the Israelites drank merely pictured or symbolized Christ. The same way the Memorial emblems merely symbolized or stood for Christ’s body and blood.
15. If transubstantiated, what kind of blood would it have to be? Why?
15 For the wine in the cup to be blood it would have had to be synthetic blood, just the same as when Jesus turned the water at the wedding feast in Cana into wine it was synthetic wine, for it did not come direct from a grapevine. Jesus said the wine in the Memorial cup was the fruit of the vine. It came from a vine, and not from Jesus’ veins. Hence by a miracle it could have become only synthetic blood, for Jesus still had his normal pints of blood in his body. When we think of the thousands of church buildings in which the mass is celebrated daily each year, more “blood” is thus produced than a normal human could provide in a day or than could be drawn off for medical blood transfusions. According to the theory of the mass, Jesus would have to be a large reservoir of blood, to be tapped like a blood bank for transfusion to the communicants via the communion chalice. This is most unreasonable. It accounts for it that the clergy say it is a mystery, a mystery as to how it could be true.
16. Of what do the clergy by their mass make themselves guilty, and why could not an unbloody sacrifice cleanse sins away?
16 By their very theory the clergy make themselves guilty of shedding Christ’s blood afresh. Some Catholics have been frightened against testing whether the bread put into their mouths is real flesh, by being warned that if they do not swallow it but hold it in the mouth, extract it outside the church and stick a pin into it, blood will come out. And yet the Catholic definition of the mass is that it is the “unbloody renewal of the sacrifice” of Christ. If it is unbloody, then how is it able to do what they claim it does, effect the remission of human sins? The apostle says: “Almost all things, according to the law, are cleansed with blood: and without shedding of blood there is no remission.”—Heb. 9:22, Dy; Knox.
AGAINST THE RANSOM
17, 18. Why could not transubstantiated bread and wine be Jesus’ sacrifice and provide redemption and remission of sins?
17 If converted into flesh and blood by either the holy spirit or by the priest’s magical words, how could the bread and wine on the altar of the mass be Jesus’ sacrifice? At most, the bread could represent only that much weight of human flesh and the wine that much quantity of human blood, certainly not the quantity of flesh and blood making up the normal human body. But Jesus Christ sacrificed a whole, entire, perfect human body with its full complement of blood. At most the bread and wine of the mass could amount to merely a fragment of the body and blood.
18 A fragment or small part could not be acceptable to God as a ransom for sinners. Regarding the requirements of a ransom God’s just and perfect law through his prophet Moses says: “Require life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.” (Deut. 19:21, Dy; Ex. 21:23-25) Adam, the perfect human son of God in Eden sinned and so forfeited for himself and his future offspring perfect human life and all right to it. Jesus said he came to “give his life a ransom for many”. He could do so, because he was a perfect man with full right to human life and so was the “last Adam”. By laying all these human assets down in sacrifice he provided the corresponding ransom. The apostle tells us: “There is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, himself man, Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom for all.” (Matt. 20:28; 1 Cor. 15:45 and 1 Tim. 2:5, 6, Catholic Confrat.) A ransom required the whole sacrifice, not a mere part of it, whereas by weight, size and quantity the bread and wine could not equal by transubstantiation more than part of the sacrifice required. It could never be a sufficient ransom for mankind and bring about redemption and remission of sins.
19. What does the theory of the mass mean for Jesus’ original sacrifice and also the new covenant, and so why is it wrong?
19 But the clergy say it is necessary to sacrifice Jesus daily in the mass in order to secure the remitting of sins that have been committed by a Catholic after he becomes a confirmed member of the church. This would mean that the sacrifice Jesus laid down at Calvary was insufficient, inadequate, and needs renewing. If, to gain remission of our daily sins, Christ’s sacrifice has to be renewed and repeated often, then it would mean that the “new covenant” would also have to be renewed by a sacrifice afresh of the Savior. If the one sacrifice did not hold good for sins, it did not hold good for the new covenant according to which God forgives sins and remembers them no more. Remember that Jesus said concerning the wine: “This cup is the new covenant in my blood.” (Luke 22:20, Cath. Confrat.) But such a renewal of the new covenant is unscriptural. The old law covenant which God made with Israel through Moses as mediator was replaced by the new covenant with Jesus as Mediator. The inaugurating of the old Mosaic law covenant foreshadowed the inaugurating of the new covenant by the glorified Jesus at Pentecost A.D. 33. The old law covenant was not inaugurated and renewed every year with fresh sacrifices. The one set of sacrifices which Moses offered at Sinai sufficed for the entire life of that law covenant. At that time the mediator Moses said: “This is the blood of the covenant which God has commanded for you.” (Heb. 9:17-20, Cath. Confrat.) Likewise the new covenant needs no renewing by fresh sacrifices. The sacrifice of the mass is supposed to provide at each celebration fresh “blood of the new covenant”. So it is wrong.
20, 21. Why could Jesus not die again, and what about the value of his original sacrifice does the mass deny?
20 How could Jesus Christ be sacrificed even once again? The apostle Paul writes us: “Christ, rising again from the dead, dieth now no more. Death shall no more have dominion over him. For in that he died to sin, he died once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.” (Rom. 6:9, 10, Dy) By the power of an immortal life he lives on and so can mediate for faithful believers till their release from sin is completely accomplished. His immortality, received by him at his resurrection from the dead, forever prevents his dying again. So he can now be High Priest forever, because he has now the “power of an indissoluble life”. As the apostle says concerning him: “This, for that he continueth for ever, hath an everlasting priesthood: whereby he is able also to save for ever them that come to God by him; always living [not, always dying] to make intercession for us. Who needeth not daily (as the other priests) to offer sacrifices, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, in offering himself.”—Heb. 7:16, 24, 25, 27, Dy.
21 The one sacrifice of Christ Jesus holds enough value to be applied at all times for the sins of mankind until they are at last wiped out. The theory of the mass denies this Bible truth.
22. What about the atonement-day sacrifices shows that the mass because of needing repeating does not take sins away?
22 Why it does so was illustrated by the Jewish sacrifices under Israel’s law covenant. Each year on the atonement day the sacrifice of the bull and of Jehovah’s goat had to be made anew and their blood had to be carried into the most holy and sprinkled before the sacred mercy seat. Why? Because those sacrifices were not human and could never take away human sins and leave the human conscience free of sin’s guilt. If they had actually cleansed man’s conscience of the sense of sinfulness, they would have stopped being offered. “For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, not the very image of the things, by the self-same sacrifices which they offer continually every year, can never make the comers thereunto perfect. For then they would have ceased to be offered: because the worshippers once cleansed should have no conscience of sin any longer. But in them there is made a commemoration of sins every year: for it is impossible that with the blood of oxen and goats sin should be taken away.” (Heb. 10:1-4, Dy) The very fact that Catholics have a sense of sin requiring them to attend a repetition of the mass proves that the so-called “sacrifice of the mass” no more takes away their sins than those sacrifices of oxen and goats did.
23. Why does Jesus not need to come down from heaven repeatedly to be sacrificed?
23 But Christ’s one sacrifice of his perfect human life does bring the believer justification and a conscience free from sin. So Jesus does not need to come down from heaven at the beck and nod of the Catholic priest every time he says mass and to synthesize flesh and blood to be sacrificed, eaten and drunk cannibalistically by priest and congregation. As High Priest, Jesus is subject to no priest on earth. Otherwise, how is he High Priest? Forty days after his resurrection from the dead he ascended to heaven and sat down at God’s right hand. Since he presented to God a perfect and forever-sufficient sacrifice, he does not need to leave his seat and come down and be made flesh and blood again to be sacrificed. Hence he can stay seated up there and wait until it comes God’s due time to fulfill his promise recorded at Psalm 110:1-4 (AS): “Jehovah saith unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool. Jehovah will send forth the rod of thy strength out of Zion: Rule thou in the midst of thine enemies. . . . Jehovah hath sworn, and will not repent: Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.” (Ps. 109:1-4, Dy; Cath. Confrat.) He therefore waited in heaven without interruption until the “time of the end” of this world began in 1914.
24, 25. How does the apostle prove this fact at Hebrews 10:10-18, and thus why is only the one sacrifice necessary?
24 Note, now, how the apostle uses this fact to prove that Jesus has not repeated his sacrifice for the reason that he does not need to, his original sacrifice holding good throughout all the duration of human sin. At Hebrews 10:10-18 (Cath. Confrat.) he says: “It is in this ‘will’ that we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest indeed stands daily ministering, and often offering the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; but Jesus, having offered one sacrifice for sins, has taken his seat forever at the right hand of God, waiting thenceforth until his enemies be made the footstool under his feet. For by one offering he has perfected forever those who are sanctified. Thus also the Holy Spirit testifies unto us. For after having said, ‘This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put my laws upon their hearts, and upon their minds I will write them,’ he then adds, ‘And their sins and their iniquities I will remember no more.’ Now where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer offering for sin.”
25 Sins forgiven by God according to the new covenant are really canceled and those who are sanctified are perfected forever “by one offering”, the “offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all”. So there is absolutely no need for Jesus’ “blood of the new covenant” to be spilled even once again. No other offering for sin is needed besides the one Jesus made at Calvary.
UNCOVERING A GROSS FRAUD
26. How does the mass compared with the atonement-day sacrifice show the Roman Catholic priests view Jesus’ sacrifice?
26 The ancient Jewish high priest had to offer atonement-day sacrifices of a bull and goat only once a year for all the nation of Israel and at one temple, that at Jerusalem. Strange that Roman Catholic priests feel obligated to offer mass 365 or 366 days a year, a number of times a day, on many altars, and not at the city called by God’s name, Jerusalem. Plainly they do not believe that Jesus’ one sacrifice was superior to the yearly Jewish atonement-day sacrifices which could not take away sins. But, aside from that, their “sacrifice of the mass” does not and could not gain redemption and remitting of sins for people who attend the mass, for still another mighty reason.
27, 28. For what other mighty reason does the mass not remove sin?
27 What is that? It is this fact: the priest who claims to break the body of Jesus afresh and to shed his blood afresh does not ascend to heaven with the sacrifice and present it to God in behalf of himself and his parishioners. Even for Jesus it was not enough to lay down his sacrifice on earth. Jesus also had to ascend and present his sacrifice to God in heaven. He did not take his human body with him to the King’s throne up there, for “flesh and blood can obtain no part in the kingdom of God”. (1 Cor. 15:50, Cath. Confrat.) When the Jewish high priest on atonement day entered the Most Holy of the temple, picturing God’s presence, he did not take the fleshy bodies of the bull and goat with him. He took only the blood, as it represents the life. So, too, Jesus did not take his fleshy body to heaven and appear with it in God’s presence. He took with him the merit or value of his human life, symbolized by blood. He presented that to God as a sin-removing ransom sacrifice. (Heb. 13:11, 12; Lev. 17:11-14; 16:14-16) By presenting his sacrifice in heaven he laid the foundation for the coming righteous new world. Hence he does not need to suffer often in sacrifice anymore. We read:
28 “It was necessary, therefore, that the copies of the heavenly realities should be cleansed by these things; but the heavenly realities themselves require better sacrifices than these. For Jesus has not entered into a Holies made by hands, a mere copy of the true, but into heaven itself, to appear now before the face of God on our behalf; nor yet has he entered to offer himself often, as the high priest [of Israel] enters into the Holies year after year with blood not his own; for in that case he must have suffered often since the beginning of the world. But as it is, once for all at the end of the ages, he has appeared for the destruction of sin by the sacrifice of himself. And just as it is appointed unto men to die once but after this comes the judgment, so also was Christ offered [how many times?] once to take away the sins of many; the second time he will appear with no part in sin to those who wait for him, unto salvation.”—Heb. 9:23-28, CC.
29. Why does Christ Jesus make it necessary for the Catholic priest himself to carry through with his sacrifice of the mass?
29 According to all this inspired Scriptural testimony Jesus considers his one sacrifice of nineteen centuries ago sufficient. Hence he would not accept the sacrifice of the mass as an indispensable addition to his one perfect sacrifice, and so he would not present it to God. For it to be presented to God, the Catholic priest offering the mass would himself have to imitate Jesus and ascend to heaven in order to get it into God’s presence. Since the sinful clergyman priest cannot do this, his sacrifice of the mass must fail to bring about cancellation of sins for Catholics.
30. How does God view the sacrifice of the mass, and what will he do about it?
30 Would God, who has already accepted the perfect, all-sufficient sacrifice of his High Priest Jesus Christ, consider such a sacrifice of the mass with any favor? No, never! He detests it as a gross fraud perpetrated on the Catholic people and as a blasphemy against the only valid sacrifice of his dear Son Jesus Christ. At the battle of Armageddon God will make all this perversion of the Memorial supper and of Christ’s sacrifice to cease by destroying the religious systems guilty of this deceitful abomination. “The sacrifices of the wicked are abominable, because they are offered of wickedness.” (Prov. 21:27, Dy) The wearing of a man-made priestly uniform does not alter the matter.
31. So from what standpoint has Christendom tried to discern the Lord’s body, and with what consequences to the world?
31 Noting from the above how the Catholics and Protestants of Christendom are guilty of “not discerning the body of the Lord”, we can appreciate why the whole religious system is infirm, weak, asleep, and sick to death. (1 Cor. 11:29, 30, Dy) Effects trace back to due causes. Christendom has dropped to this low spiritual condition because of centering her attention too much upon the literal flesh and blood of Jesus Christ in connection with her communion or Eucharist or the Lord’s supper. She has not followed the apostolic explanation of the Lord’s evening meal. Of all the Bible writers none offers more information regarding that meal than the apostle Paul does. True, Matthew, Mark and Luke each give us an account of how the supper proceeded, but they offer no explanation. Paul, though, gives both an account of the Lord’s evening meal and also considerable comment explaining it, in his first letter to the Corinthians. In the purpose behind his comments we can understand why, if Christendom had properly discerned the Lord’s body, we should not be threatened with more world war.
32, 33. How does Paul apply Jesus’ words at the Memorial, and so to what “body” does Paul refer?
32 Christendom’s clergy argue that in Paul’s comments he supports the literal application of Jesus’ words, “This is my body,” “This is my blood of the new covenant.” Honest-minded examination of Paul’s comments proves the clergy argument false, forced. According to Moffatt’s translation, Paul said: “Let a man test himself; then he can eat from the loaf and drink from the cup. For he who eats and drinks without a proper sense of the Body, eats and drinks to his own condemnation. That is why many of you are ill and infirm, and a number even dead.” So what “Body” is Paul here speaking about? Why, about “Christ’s Body”, which is composed of the members of his congregation under him as Head: “Now you are Christ’s Body, and severally members of it.” (1 Cor. 11:28-30; 12:27, Mo) This understanding is bolstered by what Paul says again in this same letter. Here it is in Catholic translation:
33 “The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not the sharing of the blood of Christ? And the bread that we break, is it not the partaking of the body of the Lord? Because the bread is one, we though many, are one body, all of us who partake of the one bread.” (Cath. Confrat.) “The chalice of benediction which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? And the bread which we break, is it not the partaking of the body of the Lord? For we, being many, are one bread, one body: all that partake of one bread.”—1 Cor. 10:16, 17, Dy.
34. Hence when a person eats the Memorial bread what must he discern or recognize in order not to incur judgment?
34 So, then, a person who partakes of the bread at the Memorial must discern or recognize that there is such an organization or congregation as “Christ’s body”. More than that, he must by testing or scrutinizing himself prove to himself that he is a member of Christ’s body, that he is a member of that congregation of Christians who are dedicated to God completely, begotten by him as his spiritual children, anointed with his holy spirit to be preachers and joint heirs with Jesus, and faithfully holding to Jesus as the one Head of their congregation or Body. So doing, he then confesses by eating the Memorial bread that he also partakes of the “body of the Lord”, that is to say, he is a member of it. Thus he does not eat hypocritically or without discernment and so does not incur divine judgment against himself.
35. When he drinks the Memorial wine, what does he confess regarding the new covenant?
35 When such a self-scrutinized Christian drinks out of the Memorial wine-cup he confesses that Jesus’ blood was the means to put God’s new covenant in force. Also, that by means of this new covenant the divine forgiveness of sins is gained and a people is taken out of all nations to be a people for God’s name, to act as witnesses of Jehovah.—Acts 15:14; Ex. 19:5, 6; 1 Pet. 2:9, 10.
36, 37. What else does the Memorial wine signify to the person drinking, and what is he therefore determined to do?
36 Another thing: the poured-out blood of Christ signifies death, not merely for a new covenant to be made over a dead victim, but primarily for vindicating Jehovah’s sovereignty, name and word. And in this death for Jehovah’s vindication the “body of the Lord”, Christ’s body-members, share. They are planted with him in the likeness of his death, buried together with him by a common baptism into his death, that they may be raised to heavenly spirit life in the likeness of his resurrection. “Know you not that all we who are baptized in Christ Jesus are baptized in his death? For we are buried together with him by baptism into death: . . . For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection.”—Rom. 6:3-5, Dy.
37 So to the wine-drinker the cup pictures the sufferings which the heavenly Father has poured like a potion for all the Christ company, the Head and the body. As Jesus said to Peter in Gethsemane: “Shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?” He did, and he also assured those followers who would prove faithful to death and share in the Lord’s blood: “Of the cup that I drink, you shall drink; and with the baptism with which I am to be baptized, you shall be baptized.” (John 18:11 and Mark 10:39, Cath. Confrat.) By drinking of the Memorial cup one confesses that he is determined to suffer with Jesus till death.